Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The Law, Formerly an Ass, Is Now a Punk 

Via Zemblan patriot K.Z.: Why should a court waste its valuable time considering evidence in the Sibel Edmonds case when the executive branch says it doesn't need to? Isn't John Ashcroft's word enough?
A federal judge threw out a lawsuit Tuesday by a whistle-blower who alleged security lapses in the FBI's translator program, ruling that her claims might expose government secrets that could damage national security.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said he was satisfied with claims by Attorney General John Ashcroft and a senior FBI official that the civil lawsuit by Sibel Edmonds could expose intelligence-gathering methods and disrupt diplomatic relations with foreign governments.

The judge said he couldn't explain further because his explanation itself would expose sensitive secrets.

Edmonds, a former contract linguist for the FBI, said she will appeal the ruling. She alleged in her lawsuit that she was fired in March 2002 after she complained to FBI managers about shoddy wiretap translations and told them an interpreter with a relative at a foreign embassy might have compromised national security.

Edmonds said the judge dismissed her lawsuit without hearing evidence from her lawyers, although the government's lawyers met with Walton at least twice privately. She noted that Walton, the judge, was appointed by President Bush.

"This shows how the separation of power has basically disappeared," Edmonds said in a telephone interview. "The judge ruled on this case without actually this ever being a case."

In his decision, Walton acknowledged that dismissing a lawsuit before the facts of the case can be heard is "Draconian" and said he was throwing out the lawsuit "with great consternation."

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